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Resources for Nursing: Citations

This guide will lead you to resources that help your study and research in the field of Nursing and Midwifery. There are also a range of learning tools that will allow you to develop your research and study skills.

Why should I Cite?

Citations help others find the information you used in your research paper.

Citing your sources accurately helps establish the credibility of your research.

Citations connect your work to the work of other scholars.

Citations are one way to honor and acknowledge the work of others who have made your own research possible.

What is Citation?

A citation is a way of giving credit to individuals for their creative and intellectual works that you utilized to support your research. It can also be used to locate particular sources and combat plagiarism.

Citing in Harvard Style

There are many rules relating to citations depending on the number of authors of the work, format of the source and citing of quotation.

How do I cite?

  • What is a citation?
    When you use another person’s work in your own work, either by referring to their ideas, or by including a direct quotation, you must acknowledge this in the text of your work. This acknowledgement is called a citation.

    Harvard is an 'author/date' system, so your citation should include:

    1. The author or editor of the cited work.
    2. The year of publication of the cited work

    Do not include title, place of publication, etc.; the full details of the work are written in your reference list

  • How do I write citations using the Harvard style?

    There are many rules relating to citations depending on the number of authors of the work, format of the source and citing of quotation.

  • a. Citing one author
    Example: Author’s name cited in the text:
    Nieswiadomy (2010, p. 12) has suggested that the lack of replication studies in nursing has hindered the development of a cumulative body of nursing body.

    OR Author’s name not cited in the text:

    Replication studies in nursing have not been numerous, and the lack of these studies has hindered the development of a cumulative body of nursing knowledge.(Nieswiadomy, 2010, p. 12)

  • b. Citing two authors


    Research Planning also involves the selection or formulation of research strategies. (Polgar and Thomas, 2008, p. 3).

  • c. Citing three or more authors

    If the work has three or more authors/editors the abbreviation ‘et al’ should be used after the first author’s name.


    Cell fractionation is a technique for purifying different parts of cells so that they can be studied by physical and chemical methods. (Solomon et al, 2008).

  • d. Citing works by the same author written in the same year

    If you cite a new work which has the same author and was written in the same year as an earlier citation, you must use a lower case letter after the date to differentiate between the two.


    Communication of science in the media has increasingly come under focus, particularly where reporting of facts and research is inaccurate (Goldacre, 2008a; Goldacre, 2008b).

  • e. Citing from chapters written by different authors

    Some books may contain chapters written by different authors. While citing work from such a book, the author who wrote the chapter should be cited and not the editor of the book.
  • f. Secondary referencing

    Secondary references are used when an author refers to another author’s work and the primary source is not available. When citing such work the author of the primary source and the author of the work it was cited in should be used.

    Example: As direct reference According to Colluzzi and Pappagallo (2005) as cited by Holding et al. (2008, p. 142) most patients given opiates do not become addicted to such drugs. OR indirectly:

    (Colluzzi and Pappagallo, 2005 cited in Holding et al., 2008, p.142)

    Note: You are advised that secondary referencing should be avoided wherever possible and you should always try to find the original work.

  • g. Citing a direct quotation

    If a direct quote from a book, article, etc., is used you must:

    • Use single quotation marks (double quotation marks are usually used for quoting direct speech)
    • State the page number


    Alder, et al state that ‘there is no consistent evidence for poor psychological well-being during menopause’ (2009, p.7).

    Note: Duplication of charts, diagrams, pictures etc., should be treated as direct quotes. In that the author(s) should be acknowledged and page numbers shown; both in your text where the diagram is discussed or introduced and in the title of the diagram.

  • h. Citing from works with no obvious author

    If you need to cite a piece of work which does not have an obvious author, you should use what is called a ‘corporate’ author. For example, many online publications will not have individually named authors, and in many cases the author will be an organization or company.

    Example: The number of Chicken Pox sufferers for the year 2008 in the Kingdom of Bahrain has been estimated as 3380 (Ministry of Health, 2008)

    Note: If you are unable to find either a named or corporate author, you should use ‘Anon’ as the author name. Be careful: if you cannot find an author for online work, it is not a good idea to use this work as part of your research. It is essential that you know where a piece of work has originated, because you need to be sure of the quality and reliability of any information you use.

  • i. Citing from multi-media works

    If you need to cite a multi-media work, you would use:-

    • The title of the TV program (including online broadcasts) or video recording.
    • Title of the film (whether on DVD, online, or video) as the author.

    Therefore, your citation should use the title that you identify as the author.

  • j. Citing from an interview or personal communication

    Always use the surname of the interviewee/practitioner as the author.

Subject Guide

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Dr Bindhu Nair
Head of Library Services
Research Support Librarian

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